Who Says Babies Don't Come with a Manual?
“Who Says Babies Don’t Come With a Manual?"
This blog is written from the perspective of the newborn baby to his/her loving parents.
Before we begin, let me start out by thanking you for being so hospitable these last nine months. I know it wasn’t always easy, but you stuck it out for me and I’m grateful. So, in return I’d like to offer you some advice on taking care of me once I’m on the outside. Please, please, please stand up for me on birth day. It’s likely you’ll be scared when you realize it’s time for me to come, but if you start stressing out your stress hormones interfere with the labor hormones that help make my entrance into the world smoother. Unfortunately, if you stress, you put the dominoes in motion for one pitfall after another! Here’s what happens...
Labor and Delivery
I finish baking and let you know-DING, “This bun’s done!” Then, you start remembering the images you’ve seen on TV and in movies where the laboring woman is screaming and chewing through a leather strap, while simultaneously punching her spouse in the face. Try to ignore those images and recognize that everything you’re feeling is normal and supposed to happen. If you stay calm, I’ll stay calm. The good hormones start flowing, labor hormones run rampant, and the body starts functioning the way it was meant to. Trust that your body was designed to make me, carry me, and deliver me. If we both stay calm it’s also much easier for us to bond once I’m here.
Try walking around during the first part of labor because movement urges natural progression. This is one of the reasons you should tell doc to hold off on the medicines. If you get pain meds, like an epidural for example, you’ll have to be laying flat or at the very least staying in bed. Hospital policy doesn’t let you move around once you have the epidural because you’ll have no feeling in your legs. So keep moving. Squat, lunge, crawl, dance, do yoga; the sky’s the limit!. Do whatever movement feels good because when you stop moving, I stop moving.
Plus, if you have to be laying flat while you’re giving birth to me it’s nearly impossible to push me out without medical intervention because you can’t push me out uphill. Think about it. You’re laying back, your legs are in stirrups and the doctors say, “push”. How in the world can you push me out from that angle? This has never made sense to me. This is one of the reasons why most women end up having an episiotomy. If you’re trying to push me out against gravity when you’re numb from an epidural (and can’t even feel where your rear end is) it’s much harder. I can’t hold off too long once I’m in the birth canal either so then the doctors jump in with their fancy tools and cut the opening wider for me to get through. They may even intervene with forceps or a vacuum (yikes!). Try a vertical position for birth and squat or get on all fours. This allows everything to open up wide and get the help of our good friend, Mr. Gravity. It’s possible you may tear a little while you’re pushing, but it’s far better to let nature tear what nature can also repair. Check with your hospital or birth center about what birthing positions are allowed.
Okay, here I come! Here’s a few last minute tips about my grand entrance. Please ask the nurses not to wipe off the gooey stuff (vernix) right away because that gooey armor protects me from harmful bacteria. Don’t worry, I’ll get a bath later after some much needed cuddle time! Second, the umbilical cord is pretty valuable! In fact, if you could ask dad not to cut it until it stops pulsing, I’ll get 50% more red blood cells than I would otherwise. It would also be in my best interest if you decided to bank my cord blood. I’ve listed some resources for that in the back. That could save me from lots of problems down the road. The nurses will probably want to do a bunch of testing, measuring, weighing, etc, but please can ask them to allow us to meet first and do that stuff later. But, you have to be the one to speak up.